November 14 Board Meeting

Board news!

The Aida Board met via Skype call on 14 November 2015.

Kimmo started the meeting on a somber note to convey our deep sadness for the people of France and Lebanon who recently suffered attacks by terrorists. We expressly wish to send our thoughts to Aida France and all of our members who were affected by this tragedy.

Kimmo then presented an offer from a unique communications tool called Amazers.  One of Aida’s main goals is to improve our communications, which have been less than effective in recent months. We have experienced significant issues with Yahoo groups and we also need to find a way to bypass social media blocks present in some countries. Mario Zuzic and Kimmo will be investigating the options that we have to establish a reliable and all-inclusive means of communication.

Antero was unable to attend the meeting due to work, but he sent in the latest version of the rules updates to be reviewed. The new rules should be ready for the Assembly to review in January 2016. Most items were simple clarifications or corrections but there will be a few new rules to be considered.

Kimmo reported that the Education officer, Jean-Pol  François and Oli Christen sent out a statement in regards to the Aida policy and the new Padi freedive education program. Aida instructors who desire to teach both programs should contact Jean-Pol if they have any questions regarding this policy.

Kimmo and Carla stated that it is important for Aida to participate in dive-related conferences and conventions worldwide. Antero will be attending the EUF (European Underwater Federation) meeting and Aida will have a presence at Salon Plongée in France, Das Boot in Germany, and the Hong Kong Dive show. Carla gave a brief report on DEMA USA which she attended with William Trubridge, to represent Aida and freediving. Carla was able to meet with DAN executives and discuss instructor liability and competitor health insurance. She also talked to potential sponsors and contacts who might be able to promote Aida freediving.

Jean-Pol reported that the new slides for the education materials are ready and we look forward to the official launch of our new program. He also recommended that Ian Donald of the UK be promoted to IT. Ian is one of the most active instructors and the Board voted to approve his promotion. In addition, Jean-Pol will be instructing a judge course at the Pan Pacs in Australia. It was noted that the course could not be calendared due to the significant problems we are experiencing with the Aida website. IT security specialist, Jakob Galbavy, is feverishly working to resolve the problems and secure our systems.

The Board reviewed and voted to approve the proposal for the Team World Championships 2016 presented by Stavros Kastrinakis and Freedive Club Greece. The proposal will now go to the Assembly via a vote to approve. Mario Zuzic, assistant sport officer, will be the main point of contact for both the world championships in 2016.

Ute reported that the results of the doping test for Nanja van de Broek were negative and the new variable weight record is now official. She also said that the doping test results from Cyprus have not yet been received but the invoice was recently paid. Ute gave a brief summary of the competition in La Paz and said that it had organizational and logistical challenges. The Board agreed that new organizers need support and advice in order to produce a safe and high-quality competition.

Vedran lost his connection during the call, as he was working in a difficult location, but Kimmo said that he had ordered a report from the accounting firm and the finances were satisfactory. Vedran will produce a 2016 budget and 2016 plan ASAP and it will be presented to the Assembly for review and approval .

The Board concurred with Petar Bojovic that the following judges should be promoted from E to D level:

Stephan Adolfsson, Julien Alias, Adriana Bantu, Anne-Louise Fortin,Daniel Frolec, Monika Hopf, Kyoko Inaba, Peter Johnsen,Wayne Judge, Marinos Kartapanis, Francois Leduc,Nora Lestari, Suzanne Lim, Anders Lundberg, Nils Manne, Danny Martherus, Martin Mühlbauer, Aya Mizumura,Oriol Navarro, Kathryn Nevatt, Ben Noble, Hussein Odiba, Marc Oesterle, Kosuke Okamoto, Timo Pontinen, Shaun Pope,Stefan Randig, Ferran Sayeras Riera, Sergio Soria, Kaj Toivola, Sigmund Uray, Judith Van de Griendt, Catherine Wilson, Clemens Zauner. 

Congratulations to all and we hope to see you judging at a competition soon!

The Board discussed the upcoming  Board elections and noted that the vote for offices for the 2016-2018 term including: president, technical officer, and education officer along with vice-president (2016 only) will be sent to the Assembly shortly. There are two candidates who wish to run in each office.

The Board would like to remind all Aida competition organizers that we have an excellent Go-Pro underwater housings available for a discounted purchase price of only € 150. Please contact Carla if you would like one of these custom-made housings for the bottom camera .

If you have any questions or concerns please contact any Board member.


October Board Notes

The Board notesThe Aida International board met via Skype call on 14 October. An urgent matter that needed to be reviewed regarded the document sent to the Board with the findings of the Disciplinary Committee of the incident with the World record attempt of Guillaume Nery in Cyprus. The Board voted to approved the recommendations from the DC. Robert King declined to accept the offer to return to the vice-president office. The position will be added to the December elections for a one year term beginning 2016  January.

The Board voted to approve to share the costs of the damaged/lost cameras housings from the Cyprus World Championships. In relation to camera housings; Dan Burton has agreed to produce a state of the art housing for bottom cameras which includes space for a long-life battery. Aida International will provide these housings to organizers at a discounted price of € 150. Please contact Carla Hanson, Secretary,  for more information.

The Board discussed an on-going issue with a judge regarding occurrences with the past Board. Kimmo Lahtinen, President, agreed to contact this judge and attempt to come to a resolution.

Antero Joki, Technical Officer, reported that he will attend the EUF (European Underwater Fed) in Vienna to represent Aida International. Aida International strives to elevate the sport of freediving in the global sports community and communicate on behalf of our athletes. Antero also said that the new rules updates are almost ready to be approved and that he will add the new recommendations included in the DC recommendations.

Vedran Milat, Treasurer ,was not able to attend due to a work conflict but the 2016 budget and audit report will be presented at the next Board meeting.

Carla distributed the proposal for the 2016 Team World Championships submitted by Stavros Kastrinakis. The Board will review the proposal then send it to the Assembly for approval.

The Board agreed to review a document provided by Aida Education committee member, Oli Christen. This document is in regards to the launch of the new Padi freediving education program. It will be sent to all Aida Instructors.

Kimmo and Carla presented the Board with a plan to initiate the enforcement of a Code of Conduct for all Aida communications. Kimmo will draft the document which will be posted on the Aida website, Facebook, and Aida Yahoo groups. It is hoped that all freedivers will be willing to comply with the guidelines in this document in order to provide a more productive environment for communication.

Following a spate of comments from the Yahoo judge group; Carla suggested a Facebook Judges only group be formed to enable discussion of pertinent judge topics. Several judges agreed to manage the task and the group can be found here:

Please feel free to contact any Board member with questions or comments about any of these or other topics.

We will be glad to address any queries or suggestions.
AIDA Board 2015




New World Record Men’s Variable Weight 146 meters

1 November 2015 , Kalamata, Greece.

The record attempt teamThe sun shone upon Stavros Kastrinakis, Aida International Renaissance Man: Instructor/ trainer, Judge, Organizer extraodonaire and now World Record holder. Stavros is best known for assisting others to reach their freediving goals but today he achieved a very well-deserved record of his own (pending doping test). Stavros said “The dive itself felt good once I was in the water and the way down was smooth and easy with my equalization holding well all the way to the bottom. The way up was long and at around 50m I had a feeling of “how much longer will I have to swim for? At that point I met my deep scooter safety Nicholas and I re-composed myself and continued to the surface were I completed a very clean surface protocol which I was happy about. I am glad to be ending our first season in Kalamata at such a high note and I am looking forward to the future.”

Stavros“I would like to thank my AIDA Judges Radek Gaca & Dave Tranfield, our medical/safety team: our Doctor Dr. Panagiotis Giannopoulos, Rescuers Thanasis Baltas, Christos Keis & Robert Kaponis, and safety team Nicholas Kouvaras (organizer), Stefanos Chaniotis (boat operator), Dimitrus Bertinelli (safety diver). We also would like to help the supporters of the record attempt: The Municipality of Kalamata and Mr Haris Vgenis for their support for the event, Elite Resort Hotel for hosting the event and providing logistical support, XT Diving Pro for its support and amazing wetsuits, UK Germany for providing UW housings, Rescue Team Messinia and last but not least the Central Hospital of Kalamata.
Finally I have to extend a massive thank you to all freedivers out there for sending their cool vibes and messages of support during our preparation and to AIDA International for helping us put this record together in such a short time. Thank you all”

We congratulate Stavros on the impressive achievement .


Nanja van de Broek: New World Record in Variable Weight

Nanja 18 October 2015 Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. In a dive time of 3:00 minutes, Nanja successfully plunged to 130 meters. She was assisted by a sled to make the descent (time 1:10) and used her own power and a monofin to make the ascent. Aida International judges, Darija Subotin and Denys Rylov, said Nanja was very strong and completed the surface protocol in a mere 9 seconds.

Nanja who hails from Haarlem, Netherlands , said the dive was not easy and she had a few small equalization problems. She had been thinking about Natalia Molchanova, as she admired her greatly and “feels honored ” to now have this record that Natalia previously held at 127m. “She was so important to me”.
We congratulate Nanja on this impressive accomplishment. The record is pending the results of the official doping test.


Aida Board Notes 27 September 2015

The Board met via Skype call to discuss several items of immediate importance.

It was noted by Kimmo that the incident (Nery WR attempt) that occurred during the pre-comp in Cyprus has been referred to the Disciplinary Committee. The DC has the ability to gather information, assess obtained information, and make recommendations without concern of being influenced by outside parties. See note from Kimmo (Aida President) below regarding the DC process.

The next item discussed was regarding the Team World Championships. Carla (Secretary) will contact organizers who have expressed an interest in hosting the competition and inquire as to the status of bids and offer assistance to compose proposals.

Vedran (Treasurer) will finalize a preliminary budget proposal for 2016 this week. The budget will be presented to the Assembly and finalized by 1 December. Vedran asked Board members for budget items related to their office and suggestions for funds needed for 2016 projects.

It was noted that candidates for the following Board positions (2016-18) should submit their declaration and CV to Carla by 30 October:

  • President
  • Technical Officer
  • Education Officer
  • Vice-President (following resignation of Robert King) one year term 2016-17

Carla will publicize the need for members to volunteer and run for office. The request will also be sent to the Assembly list.

The concerns and suggestions from members who attended the General Meeting in Cyprus have been noted. Many excellent ideas were presented and these will be implemented in projects in 2016. Suggestions for rules amendments have been sent to the technical office to be added to the rules update process.

The Board discussed priorities for 2016 which included:

  • Development of an on-line judge CE/renewal course. Standardizing the basic judge course to establish consistency. Addressing issues and inadequacies in the current judge system.
  • Refreshing and stabilizing the Aida International website
  • Continuing update and enhancement of rules
  • Budget for hiring a professional public relations and marketing firm
  • Establishing a work group to improve competition procedures and organization on all levels from national competitions up to and including World Championships.

Message from the President regarding the DC:

Aida DC has started to investigate what happened in Limassol Aida World championships pre-competition. They started this process from my request. The process basically has 3 steps:

  1. collecting the information and trying to learn what happened (investigation)
  2. then conclusions based on the collected information and finally
  3. the recommendation for the Board for possible actions.

For the investigation period the DC has recommended that the judges involved with the incident in Limassol, will be suspended from the Aida judge role (Ute Gessman, Robert King and Savvas Savva). Investigation may take about 2 weeks in accordance with the Disciplinary Commission guidelines:

“6. Timelines
Within 7 days after application of the case, the DC will confirm the  receipt of the mail and inform the sender which body will be handling  the specific case. Within 15 days after application of the case, the DC will decide which  level of action will be taken (see article 4) and decide and communicate  the expected timelines that will be taken into account.)”

Aida Board confirmed this suspension in the meeting that was held today and we will inform Aida Assembly about this process and also the purpose of the process: we need to learn something from this incident and improve as an organization so that this kind of incident will not happen again!

Disciplinary commission work is lead by DC secretary Katya Romanova in co-operations with the former DC secretary Claude Chapuis.

Best regards,

Kimmo Lahtinen, AIDA president